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UWF International Studies Graduate Reflects on Academic Experiences and Future Goals

December 17, 2018 | Dayzha Holland |

A student holds a UWF flag
Racine Frank is a Fall 2018 UWF graduate of the International Studies Program.

Racine Frank is a traveler, international ambassador (Summer 2018) and now a Fall 2018 UWF graduate of the International Studies Program.

Of her UWF experience, Frank said, "All of my classes at UWF gave me knowledge of the world and people. I send many thanks to my department and my professors... This experience was definitely a precursor to what I would experience while interning at the embassy."

This past summer, Frank interned with the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru. During her internship, Frank said she never had a dull moment in the city. “The experience of being immersed in a different culture was wonderful. One factor of any culture is the language, along with the food, the people and their Independence Day celebration,” said Frank.

“Working for the embassy was wonderful and eye-opening... I was able to develop professionally and I was a part of a great team... It was beneficial to see the different leadership styles of my colleagues as well as to explore the different parts of the embassy… This opportunity made me a better person and a stronger individual.

During Frank’s internship, she worked on various projects ranging from research, process improvements, time studies and data analysis. Frank worked closely with U.S. foreign service officers to help improve both the internship program and professional engagement opportunities for future interns.

Frank’s time was mostly split between two different units in the consular section. In the morning Frank worked in the non-immigrant visa unit fingerprinting individuals who were seeking a temporary visa to the United States. Frank said that both permanent and temporary visa processes are lengthy, but with the temporary visa process there were hundreds of applicants a day. According to Frank, this was her favorite part of her internship because she was the first American who applicants met when they entered the embassy.

“Working at the window in the morning meant I was the first American the applicants would see entering the embassy. This was the perfect opportunity to converse with them, to smile and to make them feel comfortable” said Frank.

During Frank’s time at UWF, she served as president of the W.E.B. Du Bois Honor Society (2017 - 2018); was a 2017 Splash Guard Orientation Leader, where she was awarded "Most Outstanding Splash Guard 2017"; served as Operation Chair for Campus Activity Board (CAB/ 2017-2018); and served as a student representative on the 2018 Argo Arrival Committee.   At the 2018 Student Leadership Awards Ceremony, Frank was also awarded a "Cannon Citation" for infectious Argo spirit and leadership on campus.

Frank said her most memorable moment at UWF was speaking at the 2018 Convocation a week after returning from Peru. Frank gave the senior speech, which centered around the saying "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much.” She stated that she was very happy to share her UWF experience with new, incoming students and to officially welcome them to UWF.

Frank’s internship to Peru gave her a taste of a U.S. foreign services career, career path in which Frank said she is interested. Frank’s advice to anyone wanting to study abroad is to be ambitious, stay focused, work hard and accomplish personal goals.

 “Every student should take the opportunity to study abroad… I think it is a great way to remind yourself of your passion… Along the way, you will learn more about yourself and ultimately where you can improve in life ” said Frank.

After graduation, Frank will continue to work for the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council. As a program officer, Frank assists the program coordinator with programming for the International Visitor Leadership Program. The IVLP is an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and other exchange programs for professionals and youth.  Frank’s roles with membership and as program coordination contributes to the promotion of citizen diplomacy in Northwest Florida. Frank’s future goals are to serve in the Peace Corps, while supporting education and youth development, and to continue career pursuits in international affairs and public diplomacy.

Frank stated, “Working at the council has allowed me to grow professionally in the field that I want to pursue - international affairs and public diplomacy.  I have had the opportunity to meet international visitors and to learn not only about their work in their country but also the work happening locally in my community.  This job is truly rewarding.”

For more information on the International Studies Program at UWF, visit online.